Hermann W. Dommel’s development of landmark computer methods for analyzing and modeling the effects of electromagnetic transients and optimizing power flow in power systems has played a critical role in advancing the electric power grid. His pioneering work during the 1960s set the foundation for the electromagnetic transients program (EMTP) software that has become an indispensable tool in the power industry. Electromagnetic transients can occur due to network switching, system faults, or lightning and can cause power surges detrimental to the electric grid. Dr. Dommel’s EMTP technology, which can be found in well-known commercial software packages today, helps utility companies predict these surges for more reliable and efficient operation. Dr. Dommel’s development, further enhancement, and support of the technology have earned him recognition as the “Father of EMTP.” Dr. Dommel also developed methods for optimal power flow with W.F. Tinney in 1968 that were quickly implemented in power system operations centers for real-time monitoring and analysis of the power grid. The paper detailing this work (published in the IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems) was voted the fifth-most important paper concerning 20th Century power system analysis. Dr. Dommel’s optimal power flow solutions still play an important role in the efficient operation of large power systems.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Dommel’s many honors include the IEEE Power and Energy Society’s Charles Concordia Power Systems Engineering Award (2011) and the IEEE Medal in Power Engineering (2013), awarded to him for "pioneering contributions to the methods of analyzing electromagnetic transients and optimal power flow in electric power systems." Dr. Dommel is a Professor Emeritus with the University of British Columbia’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.